The New Israel Fund Is Threatening the Jewish State From Within
Every people has its quislings. They are an inescapable burden, a wound that tears at the sinew that binds a people together, a source of legitimacy for the affronts hurled by one’s enemies.
One would think that Jews, who for millennia wandered the earth as a people apart as an oppressed people whose very lives were subject to the whims of their rulers and their neighbors — who suffered through inquisitions, pogroms, the Holocaust, and the threats of their Middle East neighbors to extinguish them — would be relatively immunized against this affliction.
Quite the contrary. Within the Jewish community are a number of highly sophisticated, well-funded, and superbly marketed organizations that work against Israel’s continued existence even as the region implodes in unrelenting chaos that threatens not only the state’s viability but also portends another holocaust.
The most threatening and most deceptive of these organizations is the New Israel Fund. In a highly skilled positioning, NIF appeals to liberal American Jews by advocating progressive policies that many Jews see as the embodiment of Tikkun Olam, the Jewish imperative to repair the world. As early as its codification in the Mishnah (the oral tradition) around 200 CE, the concept referred to caring and concern for the disadvantaged.
In the contemporary world, it has come to mean the pursuit of social justice for the politically and economically marginalized through public interest advocacy and legislation. Its marketing in these terms is so skilled that to speak against NIF at a Jewish communal forum is to run into a torrent of opposition from people who not only believe its propaganda, but are also donors to the cause.
As the European Union embarks on a program of labeling of Israeli goods manufactured in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights, the NIF has thrown its resources behind this boycott policy. For years, the NIF proclaimed it did not support a boycott of Israel — although it didn’t hesitate to fund those organizations that did.
Now, the NIF asserts that those entities are not part of Israel, so boycotting them is not boycotting Israel.
This policy not only works for the advocates of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement; it serves the European Union’s goal of forcibly delineating the boundaries of a Palestinian state, one it already recognizes despite the lack of formal boundaries.
Noted historian Edwin Black, a strong critic of NIF, describes its operation this way:
A superhighway of money goes directly from Israel’s greatest adversaries into a vast interchange where it co-mingles with dollars, shekels, Euros, and yen from the finest financial nameplates and charitable funds in the world. This merged money courses throughout Israel with exit ramps into some of the most benevolent Arab programs—as well as those that stoke violence and confrontation.
And what are some of those programs and what threat do they present to the Jewish State? A recent comprehensive study by the Zionist organization Im Tirtzu focused on foreign agent organizations operating in Israel and working against the interests of the state. Twenty organizations were examined, of which 15 received support from NIF. Of these, 13 showed a confluence of interest with radical Palestinian foundations. Four of the organizations legally defended terrorists or families of terrorists, some of whom killed and maimed Jews in the recent wave of lone-wolf terrorism.
The strength and influence of the NIF in Israel itself is reflected in the fact that four of these organizations qualify for national service, meaning that in the Jewish state today, one can perform the national service obligation by working for a foreign agent organization whose goals are to defend terrorists and their families, file charges against Israeli soldiers, and defame Israel in the United Nations and on the American campus.
The NIF is a fundamental challenge to the very existence of the Jewish state. Surrounded on all sides by enemies that would exterminate its people, Israel is also besieged from within, not just from knife-wielding terrorists, but worse, by the NIF’s assault on its very legitimacy and survival.
Abraham H. Miller is an emeritus professor of political science, University of Cincinnati, and a senior fellow with the Haym Salomon Center. @salomoncenter